iPad 2: Online order experience with delivery on Thursday
by Bill Fox, MacsOnly.com March 14, 2011 [Updated March 17]
My latest experiment in traveling even lighter is about to begin with delivery of a new Apple iPad 2 later this week. After replacing my first generation MacBook Air with a 2010 13" MacBook Pro and the arrival of the iPad, I've wanted to try an iPad instead for some trips but it didn't seem to be up to the task. The iPad 2 looks like it might just do the trick.
I was in Italy on a business trip when the iPad 2 went on sale last Friday. Apple advertised the iPad 2's availability via its online store as starting at 1:00am PST but my flight home was at exactly the same time, i.e. 10:00am CET. Since I would not arrive home until it would be too late for Friday's in-store sales, I thought I would miss the opportunity to buy one for at least several weeks, maybe even months like the iPhone 4. I guessed the iPad 2 would sell out immediately, an Apple marketing trademark--join the hysteria or suffer a long wait. I also wondered if I could even buy one online from Italy, even though it would be delivered in the US.
Fortunately, my flight out of Italy was late by 45 minutes so I brought up the Apple Store on my MacBook Pro at 9:50am CET, 10 minutes ahead of the appointed time. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the iPad 2 was already available for ordering with a 3-5 day shipping time. At first I was disappointed that it wouldn't ship immediately but I figured that if it was 3-5 days at the outset, it was going to be a very long wait if I procrastinated much. So I rushed through ordering a black Wi-Fi 32GB model along with a black leather Smart Cover and Digital AV and VGA Adapters. I already have an Apple Wireless Keyboard and a Verizon Mi-Fi.
My order time was pegged at 1:02:58am PST in the header of Apple's email receipt with shipping in 3-5 days for the iPad 2 and 1-2 days for everything else. Ten hours later at 2p EST after landing in the US, the shipping time for ordering from Apple's online store had increased from a modest 3-5 days to a long 2-3 weeks. On Sunday evening it stood at a very long 3-4 weeks for all models. I got lucky and made the right decision this time.
The really good news is that on Sunday morning my Apple Store order showed that the iPad 2, Smart Cover and VGA adapter had already shipped and FedEx tracking says their delivery day is this Thursday! By Sunday evening the Digital AV Adapter was also scheduled to ship with delivery on Thursday.
[Update March 17: Apple is having difficulties with its shipping schedule. The VGA adapter arrived Monday, March 14; the iPad 2 arrived late yesterday, March 16; the Smart Cover is due for delivery today, March 17; and the digital AV adapter is due Tuesday, March 22. All except the VGA adapter shipped from Schenzhen, China, via Hong Kong and Anchorage. Look out for my first review on Wednesday, March 23.]
I had some concerns with the original iPad but decided to buy an iPad 2 after seeing my son, who got an original 16GB Wi-Fi iPad, make good use of it while on travel. His only major complaint is the lack of an iSight...er...Facetime camera, one of the reasons why I didn't get an original iPad to try to replace my 13" MacBook Pro on some trips. We both like to phone home visually while on travel.
With the original iPad I was also at a loss to determine how much flash memory I really needed--16, 32 or 64GB. There is a significant difference of $200 from low to high. My last two iPhones have been 32GB models yet I have only used a third of their capacity, half of which is a very slimmed down music collection that I would not duplicate on an iPad. I have 84 apps on my iPhone 4 that only use 2GB of space but none are business apps and except for Mail none store documents on the iPhone. My son is happy with 16GB but he doesn't carry movies, which I would if I were to have an iPad, and he doesn't use it for business productivity as I would. After the comparisons, I thought I might get away with 16GB but 32GB would provide a measure of comfort so I decided to spring for the extra $100.
Since I decided not to get an original iPad I have been keeping track of what I really need to do while traveling. I will need the MacBook Pro to do any significant writing or editing of substantial documents but how fequently will be tested by just using the iPad 2. I am concerned about printing but I mostly print boarding passes which can be printed from a hotel's business center. I've become comfortable with exchanging files via email or iDisk rather than a thumbdrive. But I'll have to see how well the iPad versions of Keynote, Numbers and Pages work in reality. Finally, I won't be able to run Windows on Parallels for a few periodic work-related tasks but I will check out Citrix.
At the very least, the iPad 2 will be a welcome addition to our family room, for work on an airplane and for real vacations...er...well, the latter is a debatable point.
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